Whether you’re a manufacturer, retailer, wholesaler, or any business needing to transport goods, integrating multiple carriers with different requirements is a challenge that’s all too familiar. Here, we'll talk about how specialized software can help you with that.

Integrate with multiple carriers, instantly. Let's talk about your specific case:

Book a free consultation

See why Cargoson received the Capterra Best Value 2022 award See why Cargoson received the Capterra Best Ease of Use 2022 award View Cargoson reviews in Capterra View Cargoson reviews in GetApp View Cargoson reviews in Slashdot View Cargoson reviews in SoftwareAdvice View Cargoson reviews in SourceForge

📊 Make sure it's worth your investment: Download a free cost-benefit analysis template

The Headache of Multi-Carrier Shipping

Imagine this scenario: your business is working with several shipping carriers, each with its own unique set of API protocols and freight modes. Your ERP system, let’s say Erply for example, may have some pre-built carrier plugins available, but these tend to support only the large carriers, and only parcels.

So, what happens when your operations require freight shipping — seafreight, airfreight, railfreight, or large quantities like LTLs, FTLs and pallets? Or, when you routinely use multiple carriers for different directions and transport modes? You hit a wall, where the limited nature of single-carrier plugins can begin to choke your business operations.

Challenges with Carrier API Integrations

Building your own custom carrier API integrations can have many advantages. However, there are several challenges you might need to think about when going alone:

1. Diverse API Protocols: Handling Multiple Data Formats

Carrier APIs are varied – some use JSON, others XML (SOAP or custom), and others still might operate via the legacy, yet powerful IFTMIN through FTP. While flexible, this variety demands a high level of expertise in handling multiple data exchange formats.

2. Frequent and Unpredictable API Changes Leading to Downtime

Carrier APIs are in constant flux, with changes and updates being a regular part of their lifecycle. In an industry as time-sensitive as transport and logistics, keeping pace with these changes could mean constant vigilance — an API being down for even a day can result in significant disruptions.

3. New Carriers, New Integrations: The Ongoing Commitment

Changing carriers is a normal part of business, often triggered by annual freight tenders and rate negotiations. But with each change comes the need for a new API integration – a costly and time-consuming process. This isn’t just a one-off project; it’s a commitment to an ongoing, potentially costly, and time-consuming process.

4. Multi-Carrier Shipping Features: More Than Just Connectivity

With DIY integrations, the initial focus is often on data connectivity. But that’s just the start. Consider the extensive work to build functionalities that a dedicated solution, like Cargoson's carrier integration software, provides straight out-of-the-box. The underlying value in multi-carrier shipping solutions is not just in discrete API connections, but process standardization - order process, freight rate management, calculation and comparison, shipping notifications, transport documents, communication and much more. We'll cover this in depth in the next chapter.

5. Integration development: In-House or Outsourced?

Embarking on this path may involve hiring a dedicated software development team or engaging a third-party development company. This is a substantial investment in both time and financial resources, and it comes with its own set of challenges—such as finding software development talent with the right expertise in logistics processes and carrier integrations.

A Relatable Comparison: Custom vs. Standardized Parts

Let's say you're a manufacturer. You could theoretically order totally custom-made parts (like bolts and nuts) for your products, offering full control and a perfect fit. However, this approach is obviously more expensive and time-consuming due to the unique specifications and the lack of economies of scale. Standardized parts, conversely, are more cost-effective, readily available, and easier to replace due to widespread use. In a similar vein, building your own carrier integrations is possible, but leveraging a specialized, standardized solution like Cargoson brings efficiency, expertise, and peace of mind.

Meet Cargoson: The Complete Carrier Integration Solution

Cargoson team - that's us! :)
Cargoson team - that's us! :)

Cargoson’s carrier integration software steps in to tackle these complexities head-on.

In its core, Cargoson is a multi-carrier shipping software designed to integrate seamlessly with your ERP system. And it’s not just about parcel deliveries: whether it’s seafreight, airfreight, railfreight or freight shipments such as pallets, Cargoson gets it all under one coherent, unified view.

Benefits of Cargoson's Carrier Integration Software

With just one (!) integration, you get:

  • Unlimited Carrier Integrations: All your present and future carriers are already integrated, and adding new carrier connections is free of charge for you. We maintain API integrations regularly: the stability of these is our top priority. In case you ever run into any issues, just use the chat on the bottom right corner, email us at support@cargoson.com or call us at +372 5555 0028.
  • Personalized Price Calculations: Auto-calculate real-time carrier rates based on your own negotiated rates with each carrier using Cargoson's freight rate management software.
  • Transport CO2 Emission Calculation: Calculate CO2e equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions before making a transport decision, or generate bulk reports after each period.
  • Spot Freight Price Requests: Request custom quotes for specific, one-off shipments from the carriers you'd like. This helps you to manage unexpected shipping costs effectively.
  • Shipping Notifications: Stay informed and keep your customers, business partners and coworkers in the loop with timely updates.
  • Cross-Carrier Analytics: Access detailed, comparative insights across all your carriers, empowering you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your carrier performance.
  • Third-Party Access Controls: Grant limited system access to suppliers for seamless order placements. This way, they can place transport orders as the goods/materials leave the production line, saving precious time without accessing your sensitive information like your transport prices.
  • Essential Document Generation: Generate shipping labels, generate CMR, e-Waybill, Dangerous Goods Declaration (DGD) with a single click.
  • Shipping Automation: Automate the carrier selection process. Save time on routine transport decision making by defining your business rules such as "IF the total weight of an order exceeds 50kg, THEN use road transport with Carrier X.", and let the system handle the rest.
  • Delayed Shipment Reports: Receive timely alerts and reports when shipments are delayed, allowing for proactive customer service and minimizing negative impacts on customer experience.
  • Dock Time Slot Management: Organize and schedule specific time slots for loading and unloading at the docks, leading to efficient management of your warehouse operations.

Integration Galore

To top it all off, Cargoson already has an impressive array of ERP/eCommerce/WMS integrations under its belt, including with ERP systems such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Axapta, Erply, Odoo and others, as well as eCommerce platforms like Magento and WooCommerce, and even warehouse providers like Boomerang Distribution, Smarten Logistics and Via3L Warehouse. If yours isn't on the list, just drop us an email at support@cargoson.com and let's make it happen.

Expanding Your Carrier Network

With Cargoson, your carrier network isn’t limited to a select few major carriers. Cargoson acts as a shipping aggregator, allowing your business to connect with your preferred carriers, whether they are global giants or regional specialists, expanding your options for international deliveries. Check out the carriers already integrated with Cargoson. The list is not set in stone, though: if any of your carriers isn't on the list, we will integrate it for you, free of charge.

Achieving Outstanding Customer Service

The customer experience is enhanced significantly through precise shipping cost and delivery time estimates, many delivery options to choose from, and shipping notifications.

Standardize Your Shipping Process

Cargoson is not just a carrier integration software; it is a complete transport management system that offers complete control and standardization of your shipping processes. The user-friendly single platform ties seamlessly into your ERP, WMS or eCommerce platform and takes no time for employees to master.

Cargoson: One Integration, Endless Possibilities

In summary, Cargoson’s carrier integration software is more than just a tool—it’s a strategic partner in your logistics operations. With one integration, you gain a comprehensive, scalable, and resilient solution designed to grow with you and your shipping needs.

You can now move beyond the limitations of single-carrier plugins and costly, high-maintenance API integrations. Keep your employees doing valuable work instead of monotonous transport management tasks than can be automated. Cargoson is like an IT department for your logistics, designed to make your workday just that bit smoother.

Cost-Benefit Analysis Template / ROI Calculator

To find out your direct time and cost savings by using a carrier integration software, we have built a simple template calculator which you can use for your own financial analysis. This is pre-filled with sample data based on Cargoson's customer stories, but feel free to insert your own numbers and calculate your own ROI.

The sample data is based on our customer stories, which are publicly available for you to read:

Nefab: "It is estimated that we spend 20-30% less time per day ordering transport, which also means direct cost savings."

PrintOnPack.com: "In terms of time-saving, we have saved a lot of working hours with Cargoson as small shipment prices with APIs are showing up automatically and cargo prices we get much faster than if we would use regular e-mail requests."

Estiko-Plastar (in Estonian): "When we place an order through Cargoson, we have the opportunity to find a partner who can offer not only a great price but also the fastest delivery time. In just six months, we have achieved savings of as much as 12-15% on our freight shipments."

Onninen: "Of course, saving time also means saving money, and although we have not calculated this precisely, it is safe to say that without Cargoson, there would probably be more people at work who would keep an eye on the whole process and bring the content of conversations to common Excel spreadsheets. Cargoson is doing this work automatically for us."

Viru Elektrikaubandus: "The solution also provides significant added value to our customers, as they can easily see information about their shipment - when it was sent, when the goods can be expected to be received. This actually is good brand marketing for Viru Elektrikaubandus, as we can be more professionals in our service also in the eyes of our customers and suppliers."

Silen: "For Silen, the cost savings come directly from the time saved. The clarity, simplicity, and efficiency of the processes allow us to better plan our work and, therefore, serve our customers better."

Find more Cargoson customer stories here

Below you can download the free Excel revenue calculator template, where you can calculate and compare the benefits, costs, ROI and payback time of using a carrier integration software versus the classic, manual way of working with all of your carriers: emails, spreadsheets, different carrier portals etc.

Preview of the free cost/benefit analysis template for Carrier Integration Software
Preview of the free cost/benefit analysis template for Carrier Integration Software